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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An Altogether Different Language

(Landscape with Stars, watercolor by Henri Edmond
Cross, 1856-1910, French artist)

“For love all love of other sights controls, / And makes one little room an everywhere.” ~ John Donne (1572-1631), the greatest of the English Metaphysical poets


There was an old church in Umbria, Little Portion¹,
Already old eight hundred years ago.
It was abandoned and in disrepair
But it was called St. Mary of the Angels
For it was known to be the haunt of angels,
Often at night the country people
Could hear them singing there.

What was it like, to listen to the angels,
To hear those mountain-fresh, those simple voices
Poured out on the bare stones of Little Portion
In hymns of joy?
No one has told us.
Perhaps it needs another language
That we still have to learn,
An altogether different language.

~ Anne Porter, born 1911, American poet

¹ Little Portion or "small portion of land," Porziuncola; the chapel is one of several small chapels now located here inside the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi.


tp lowe said...

Beautiful words from one of my favorites. I hadn't read this poem for a couple of years prior to just running into it here. Many thanks.

Tools For English said...

Thanks for the time it takes to present these! Look forward to them every week.

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